Review of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson's self-titled album released through Transgressive.
New York's Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson or MBAR as he's affectionately known brings us his self titled debut. No doubt drawing on his past experiences as drug addict, the album is a soulful look into a dark, troubled life.
He is joined by Kyp Malone (TV On The Radio) on guitar and Grizzly Bear's Christopher Bear (drums) and Chris Taylor (bass). Taylor also produces the record which has a real raw, unpolished feel; with coarse guitars and layered vocals ebbing and flowing to compliment MBAR's emotional lyrics and heart-felt delivery.
The brilliant opener is previous single Buriedfed. Immediately setting the tone lyrically (death, despair, frustration) and musically. It gradually builds from those low stripped down vocals to a western style thigh slapping chorus. Death and despair are common features again in The Debtor, where MBAR sings 'I'm not sure I want to stay alive, It's so expensive, it's cheaper to die'. There is a lot of soul-searching on this album and at times maybe it's a little introspective but the vocals and clever Crazy Horse esque musical arrangement excuses that completely.
MBAR is not an easy listen, the dark lyrical content make it uncomfortable at times but the album is a bold statement and you can't help but be affected by it. The fractured grungy folk and MBAR's pained and hypnotic vocals make this a compelling record.